I don't know what to tell you. It's awful. It stinks.
A fractured kneecap for the best player in Fantasy Baseball ... no matter what time of year it happens, it feels like the worst thing that could happen.
But particularly this time of year, with your championship hopes residing mostly with Christian Yelich ... I mean, what can you do?
Most other times, when a significant player suffers a significant injury, there's some intriguing alternative to tout — someone who's been overlooked, someone who has untapped potential, someone who offers some fleeting reason to believe it'll all be OK. But most other times, you're playing the long game. You can put your hopes in a what-if.
With only 2 1/2 weeks to go, you need production now. You've come so far and are so close to tasting the prize that you can't just lie down. You have to survive somehow.
The thought of suggesting alternatives for Yelich is of course ludicrous, both because nothing comes close and because the time period is so short that it's almost entirely random what anyone is going to do with it. Surviving, then, means playing it week to week — or even day to day, if that's the way your league rolls.
Provided your bench isn't already home to some exciting outfielder who you've been aching to get in your lineup, the only real approach here is to play the matchups the rest of the way, and that approach brings so many variables into play that I hesitate to narrow the focus too much. I'll point out, though, that Mark Canha continues to put up stud numbers in the second half while remaining available in nearly 40 percent of CBS Sports leagues. His matchups look fine for the upcoming week. Anthony Santander, meanwhile, has been a remarkably steady option with his high contact rate and above-average power, and his matchups are nothing short of phenomenal.
Wil Myers is back to playing every day for the Padres with Hunter Renfroe sidelined and has put together a nice hit streak. Maybe you could catch lightning in a bottle there. Eric Thames has a bunch of squishy righties on tap and could maybe provide some power on the cheap. Trent Grisham, who'll be Yelich's direct replacement in Milwaukee, isn't without upside himself, but he hasn't captured the hearts and minds of Fantasy owners in 100 at-bats so far.
Brett Gardner, Mike Yastrzemski and Kyle Tucker are other widely available players who I could see having an impact down the stretch, though not necessarily for the upcoming scoring period. Projecting matchups any further out, though, is a fool's errand, especially with starting rotations in a constant state of flux here at the end of the season.
Of course, the best-case scenario for replacing Yelich, at least if going the waiver wire route, would be Ramon Laureano, who offers a power/speed element that none of these others do. He has been missing time lately, though, with leg soreness after already losing a month to a stress reaction in his shin, so putting any faith in him right now is a risky proposition. The rewards might make it worth it, though, particularly if he finishes out this week strong.
The reverberations of this injury, though, go beyond just the rest of this season. Yelich had positioned himself to contend with Mike Trout for the top pick in Fantasy next year, having reached a level of trustworthiness that last year's MVP award wasn't enough to secure. With an injury of this rarity and severity, though, some doubt has to creep in. Jose Altuve's base-stealing has slowed to a halt since fracturing his kneecap two years ago. Was it just a coincidence, or is that part of Yelich's game — which hasn't always been a given, mind you — expected to suffer? Will the recovery be completely straightforward? The prospect of surgery is presently on the table.
For now, I would still call Yelich Cody Bellinger or Ronald Acuna could potentially overtake him as more information becomes available. Given the level of investment you'd be making, it's something to monitor into the offseason., but